City Directories

When researching your family history, there are dozens of places to look for records of your ancestors. One invaluable source is the City Directory. These directories pre-date phone books by many years. They provide a good deal of information, usually including name, address, whether you were a boarder (b) or a homeowner (h), and your occupation. Most good city libraries provide access to the historical City Directories for that city, whether in physical form or on microfilm. Many of them are now also available online, if you do a little digging.

1904 Utica, NY City Directory (Courtesy of Utica Public Library)
1905 Utica NY City Directory (Courtesy of Utica Public Library)

These examples show the 1904 and 1905 Utica City Directory listings for Jen, Alice and Retta Fielding. It shows the girls living together both years, however, they boarded at a different address each year. All three work as “operators” (op). According to family stories, they worked at the Oneita Knitting Mills.

Early postcard of the Oneita Knitting Mills in Utica NY

Notice that in the 1905 directory, there is an Alice H. Fielding listed. That confused me more than once while looking through these books. She is not our Alice, and always shows up as “Alice H.” The other Fieldings listed on the page are also of no relation.

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